...nothing is so improving to the temper as the study of the beauties, either of poetry, eloquence, music, or painting. They give a certain elegance of sentiment to which the rest of mankind are strangers. The emotions which they excite are soft and tender. They draw off the mind from the hurry of business and interest; cherish reflection; dispose to tranquillity; and produce an agreeable melancholy, which, of all dispositions of the mind, is the best suited to love and friendship.
David Hume, Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion. Hume is arguing for Ovid's maxim, Adde quod [or Scilicet, as it's often quoted] ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes / Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros, which is usually translated, "Therefore [or: Add to this,] to have studied faithfully the liberal arts softens behavior, not letting it be savage." Francis Bacon also discusses this maxim in The Advancement of Learning (1.8), and so does Joseph Addison in The Spectator No. 215 (6 November 1711). Owing in part to its use in Latin grammar exercises, it seems to have been a remarkably popular proverb in nineteenth-century Britain. The second half of it, incidentally, is also the motto of the University of South Carolina.